This article explores the advantages of using a range of actual cases in doing politicaltheory. This sort of approach clarifies what is at stake in alternative theoretical formulations, draws attention to the wisdom that may be embedded in existing practices, and encourages theorists to confront challenges they might otherwise overlook and to think through the implications of their accounts more fully.
This essay examines the relevance of eschatological themes to the politicaltheory of Michael Walzer. A distinctive eschatological hope is identified, which functions as a guide to thought throughout Walzer's writings, even though he seldom expresses it (and sometimes denies it). This analysis of Walzer's work demonstrates that eschatology is relevant to the contemporary discussion of justice, and conversely, that contemporary politicaltheory can be a guide for the construction and evaluation of theological doctrines of eschatology. (...) Any eschatology that enters into political debate in a modern, pluralistic society like the United States, however, must have at least one important characteristic: it must be informed by a profound sense of limitation. (shrink)
In PoliticalTheory and Feminist Social Criticism, Brooke Ackerly demonstrates the shortcomings of contemporary deliberative democratic theory, relativism and essentialism for guiding the practice of social criticism in the real, imperfect world. Drawing theoretical implications from the activism of Third World feminists who help bring to public audiences the voices of women silenced by coercion, Brooke Ackerly provides a practicable model of social criticism. She argues that feminist critics have managed to achieve in practice what other theorists (...) do only incompletely in theory. Complemented by Third World feminist social criticism, deliberative democratic theory becomes critical theory - actionable, coherent, and self-reflective. While a complement to democratic theory, Third World feminist social criticism also addresses the problem in feminist theory associated with attempts to deal with identity politics. Third World feminist social criticism thus takes feminist theory beyond the critical impasse of the tension between anti-relativist and anti-essentialist feminist theory. (shrink)
Men in PoliticalTheory builds on feminist re-readings of the traditional canon of male writers in political philosophy by turning the "gender lens" on to the representation of men in widely studied texts. It explains the distinction between "man" as an apparently de-gendered "individual" or "citizen" and "man" as an overtly gendered being in human society. The ten chapters on Plato, Aristotle, Jesus, Augustine, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx and Engels show the operation of the "gender lens" (...) in different ways, depending on how each philosopher deploys concepts of men and masculinity to pose and solve classic problems. (shrink)
How may progressive political theorists advance the Enlightenment after Darwin shifted the conversation about human nature in the nineteenth century, the Holocaust displayed barbarity at the historical center of the Enlightenment, and 9/11 showed the need to modify the ideals and strategies of the Enlightenment? Kantian Courage considers how several figures in contemporary politicaltheory--including John Rawls, Gilles Deleuze, and Tariq Ramadan--do just this as they continue Immanuel Kant's legacy.
Feminist PoliticalTheory provides both a wide-ranging history of western feminist thought and a lucid analysis of contemporary debates. It offers an accessible and thought-provoking account of complex theories, which it relates to 'real-life' issues such as sexual violence, political representation and the family. This timely new edition has been thoroughly updated to incorporate the most recent developments in feminism and feminist scholarship throughout, in particular taking into account the impact of black and postmodern feminist thought on (...) feminist politicaltheory. (shrink)
Feminist scholars have been remaking the landscape in politicaltheory, and in this important book some of the most important feminist political theorists provide reconstructions of those concepts most central to the tradition of political philosophy. The goal is nothing less than the construction of a blueprint for a positive feminist theory.Many of these papers are completely new; others are extensions of important earlier work; two are reprints of classic papers. The result is a progress (...) report on the continuing feminist project to re-envision traditional politicaltheory. As such, it constitutes essential reading not only for feminist thinkers but also for traditional philosophers and political theorists, who will need to come to terms with these contemporary critiques and re-readings. (shrink)
Can politicaltheory be action-guiding without relying on pre-political normative commitments? I answer that question affirmatively by unpacking two related tenets of Raymond Geuss’ political realism: the view that political philosophy should not be a branch of ethics, and the ensuing empirically-informed conception of legitimacy. I argue that the former idea can be made sense of by reference to Hobbes’ account of authorization, and that realist legitimacy can be normatively salient in so far as it (...) stands in the correct relation to a theory of justice and problematizes its sources of value through what Geuss terms ‘political imagination’. (shrink)
The essay provides a short outline of Berlin's career and an assessment of his contribution to pluralist and liberal thought. He was a British academic with a Russian cast of mind, and an inhabitant of the ivory tower who was very much at home in the diplomatic and political world. Similarly, he was neither a historian of ideas nor a political philosopher in the narrow sense usually understood in the modern academy. Rather, he engaged in a trans-historical conversation (...) about the human condition with such figures as Machiavelli, Herzen, Vico, and Herder. The Russian liberal understanding of the historical and cultural setting was, in his view, much superior to that of familiar figures such as John Stuart Mill, just as the nonliberal Machiavelli cast a particularly vivid light on the problems of a pluralist world view. (shrink)
In a world rife with civic failure, we've seen an increasing interest in the question of how to restore civic communities after they have failed. Much of that answer must come from the social sciences, of course, but philosophy has an important contribution to make: it can provide a normative theory of political community, one that outlines the characteristics of a good political community. Without such a theory, we have no basis for the claim that reconciliation (...) is desirable in the first place and no way to evaluate whether proposed efforts toward political reconciliation are moving things in the right direction. Colleen Murphy's A Moral Theory of Political Reconciliation provides exactly such a theory. (shrink)
Pragmatism has enjoyed a considerable revival in the latter part of the twentieth century, but what precisely constitutes pragmatism remains a matter of dispute. In reconstructing the pragmatic tradition in political philosophy, Matthew Festenstein rejects the idea that it is a single, cohesive doctrine. His incisive analysis brings out the commonalities and shared concerns among contemporary pragmatists while making clear their differences in how they would resolve those concerns. His study begins with the work of John Dewey and the (...) moral and psychological conceptions that shaped his philosophy. Here Festenstein lays out the major philosophic issues with which first Dewey, and then his heirs, would grapple. The book's second part traces how Dewey's approach has been differently developed, especially in the work of three contemporary pragmatic thinkers: Richard Rorty, Jurgen Habermas, and Hilary Putnam. This first full-length critical study of the relationship between the pragmatist tradition and political philosophy fills a significant gap in contemporary thought. (shrink)
How best to avoid the Levinas Effect, as it has been called, the tendency to make Emmanuel Levinas everything to everyone? One way is to demonstrate that Levinas's thinking does not fit into any of the categories by which we ordinarily approach politicaltheory. If one were forced to categorize Levinas's politicaltheory, the term "inverted liberalism " would come closest to the mark. As long, that is, as one emphasizes the term "inverted" over "liberalism." Levinas's (...) defense of liberalism is likely the strangest defense the reader has encountered. We should, argues Levinas, foster and protect the individual because only the individual can see the tears of the other, the tears that even the just regime cannot see. The individual is to be fostered and protected for the sake of the other individual. Whether this has anything to do with "real" liberalism, and whether it should, is the topic of this essay. (shrink)
This article aims to investigate the way in which a politicaltheory of justice should respond to the endorsement of pluralism. After offering reasons in support of the necessity for such a theory to take pluralism seriously, an argument is put forward for its characterization in minimal and procedural terms. However, taking issue with the straightforward relationship of implication identified by a number of scholars between pluralism and procedural justice, this article contends that a direct relation can (...) only be established between pluralism and the need to define a minimal theory of justice, i.e. a theory that assumes as little as possible in terms of values and views of the world. Its procedural formulation is seen, instead, as a consequence of the limited predictive power of theory facing the heterogeneous situations with which it is expected to deal. (shrink)
This article challenges conventional views of Chomsky’s critique of American foreign policy as political extremism. It argues that it is necessary to begin with an understanding of the theoretical and philosophical framework he employs in all of his political writings. Chomsky has a politicaltheory. Although it is underpinned by an essentialist view of human nature, it is neither reductionist nor conservative. The core of that view is a hopeful (and unverifiable) view of human need, and (...) celebration of freedom. In this respect, he is in the company of many of those in power, who claim to pursue policies that are consistent with these same value orientations. Chomsky’s methodology does not lead him to question the authenticity of beliefs about human nature. Rather, he probes the policies, testing for consistency and with reference to what he believes is good for humans. His politically ‘extreme’ conclusions are derived from his use of evidence created and supplied by those in power. It is the systematic maintenance of the logical connection in his theory between his hopeful view of human need, his view of the good society, and his critique of existing social organization that accounts for Chomsky’s resolutely subjective, yet consistent and assertive analysis of events. Recognition of the nature of Chomsky’s thought is a proper prerequisite for the kind of discussion about the quality and value of his political analysis that the issues deserve, but at present is sadly lacking. Contemporary PoliticalTheory (2005) 4, 129–153. doi:10.1057/palgrave.cpt.9300155.. (shrink)
This paper explores contemporary debates about the meaning and value of realism in politicaltheory. I seek to move beyond the widespread observation that realism encompasses a diverse set of critiques and commitments, by urging that we recognize two key strands in recent realist thought. Detachment realists claim that politicaltheory is excessively abstract and infeasible and thereby fails adequately to inform actual political decision-making. Displacement critics, on the other hand, suggest that political (...) class='Hi'>theory threatens or disrespects real politics. Not only are these visions of realism very different, there are also important tensions between them. I focus, in particular, on clarifying and evaluating the more complex charge that politicaltheory displaces politics. (shrink)
...Witherspoon's Course in PoliticalTheory, as Taken by James Madison Dennis F. Thompson Princeton University [523...Witherspoon's Course in PoliticalTheory, as Taken by James Madison. James Madison was an unusually wen-prepared student when, at eighteen...
Postcolonialism and PoliticalTheory explores the intersection between the political and the postcolonial through an engagement with, critique of, and challenge to some of the prevalent, restrictive tenets and frameworks of Western political and social thought. It is a response to the call by postcolonial studies, as well as to the urgent need within world politics, to turn towards a multiplicity largely excluded from globally dominant discourses of community, subjectivity, power and prosperity constituted by otherness, radical (...) alterity, or subordination to the newly reconsolidated West. The book offers a diverse range of essays that re-examine and open the boundaries of political and cultural modernity's historical domain; that look at how the racialized and gendered and cultured subject visualizes the social from elsewhere; that critique the limits of postcolonial theory and its claim to celebrate diversity; and that complicate the notion of postcolonial politics within settler societies that continue to practice exile of the indigenous. Postcolonialism and PoliticalTheory is an ideal book for graduate and advanced undergraduate level study and for those working both disciplinarily and interdisciplinarily, both inside and outside academia. (shrink)
This article sets out some of the key features of a realist critique of liberal moralism, identifying descriptive inadequacy and normative irrelevance as the two fundamental lines of criticism. It then sketches an outline of a politicaltheory of modus vivendi as an alternative, realist approach to politicaltheory. On this account a modus vivendi should be understood as any political settlement that involves the preservation of peace and security and is generally acceptable to those (...) who are party to it. In conclusion, some problems with this conception of modus vivendi and with a realist politicaltheory more generally are discussed. In particular, the question is raised of whether a realist politicaltheory should be understood as an alternative to liberal moralism or only a better way of doing basically the same kind of thing. (shrink)
The history of concepts has partly replaced the older style of the `history of ideas' and can be extended to a critique of normative politicaltheory and, thereby, understood as an indirect style of political theorizing. A common feature in Quentin Skinner's and Reinhart Koselleck's writings lies in their critique of the unhistorical and depoliticizing use of concepts. This concerns especially the classical contractarian theories, and both authors remark that this still holds for work by their contemporary (...) heirs, such as Rawls, Habermas and other contemporary normative theorists. Conceptual history offers us a chance to turn the contestability, contingency and historicity of the use of concepts into instruments for conceptualizing politics. The alternative, indirect mode of political theorizing Skinner and Koselleck practise consists of a `Verfremdungseffekt', which helps us to distance ourselves from thinking in terms of contemporary paradigms, unquestioned conventions, given constellations of alternatives or implicit value judgements. In the Skinnerian variant the conceptual changes are made intelligible through analysis of the rhetorical redescriptions among the political agents, whereas Koselleck thematizes the differences in the temporal index of concepts. The subversive aspect in the history of concepts consists of the explication and historical variation of the tacit normative content in the use of concepts. (shrink)
This article argues for greater realism in politicaltheory with respect to judgements about what politicians ought to do and how they ought to act. It shows that there are major problems in deducing what a given politician should do from the value commitments that are common to liberalism and it makes a case for recognizing the major role played by the context of action and particular agent involved. It distinguishes political virtue from moral virtues and argues (...) that the ‘decisionist’ features of political agency render evaluation a partly post hoc process. The article advocates a version of political realism that is rooted in an understanding of the distinctive character of political rule and that provides the basis for a contextualist but non-relativist account of ‘what is to be done’. (shrink)
The principles of liberal politicaltheory are often said to be "freestanding." Are they indeed sufficiently detached from the cultural setting where they emerged to be intelligible to people with other backgrounds? To answer this question, this essay examines the Indian secularism debate and develops a hypothesis on the process whereby liberal principles crystallized in the West and spread elsewhere. It argues that the secularization of western political thought has not produced independent rational principles, but transformed theological (...) ideas into the "topoi" of a culture. Like all topoi, the principles of liberalism depend on other clusters of ideas present in western societies. When they migrate to new settings, the absence of these surrounding ideas presents fundamental obstacles to the interpretation and elaboration of liberal principles. The case of Indian secularism illustrates the cultural limitations of liberal politicaltheory rather than showing its universal significance. (shrink)
This article explores the prospects for developing a realist politicaltheory via an analysis of the work of Bernard Williams. It begins by setting out Williams’s theory of political realism and placing it in the wider context of a realist challenge in the literature that rightly identifies several deficiencies in the liberal view of politics and legitimacy. The central argument of the article is, however, that Williams’s political realism shares common features with liberal theory, (...) including familiar normative concerns and a consensus view of the political and political legitimacy, which results in it replicating rather than overcoming the weaknesses that other realists have recognized in liberalism, thereby making it vulnerable to the same criticisms. Though these are taken to be significant problems for Williams’s theory, the purpose of making this argument is not to undermine the prospects for a realist politicaltheory but to indicate obstacles and difficulties that any compelling account will need to address. (shrink)
What is the purpose of political theoretical endeavour and what methods should the early 21st-century political theorist employ? These questions – which touch on issues which go to the very heart of the vocation of politicaltheory – have become increasingly contentious in recent years. The period since the late 1980s has been one in which theorists have increasingly disagreed not only about conventional matters of normative contention but also about the means by which to seek (...) to resolve them. This article examines a central tension that has characterized that general methodological disagreement, namely the place of empirical inquiry within the repertoire of the professional political theorist. Having carefully examined the contentions of an eclectic range of contributors to the debate, including G.A. Cohen, Alasdair MacIntyre and David Miller, this article argues that efforts either wholly to separate empirical investigation from normative enquiry or to bind the two ever-closer together are fraught with difficulties. It concludes by contending that political theorists ought to take aspects of the empirical political and social sciences extremely seriously while avoiding the temptation to have their normative agenda dictated to them by the contingent pressures of the here and now. (shrink)
Long recognized as one of the main branches of political science, politicaltheory has in recent years burgeoned in many different directions. Close textual analysis of historical texts sits alongside more analytical work on the nature and normative grounds of political values. Continental and post-modern influences jostle with ones from economics, history, sociology, and the law. Feminist concerns with embodiment make us look at old problems in new ways, and challenges of new technologies open whole new (...) vistas for politicaltheory. This Handbook provides comprehensive and critical coverage of the lively and contested field of politicaltheory, and will help set the agenda for the field for years to come. Forty-five chapters by distinguished political theorists look at the state of the field, where it has been in the recent past, and where it is likely to go in future. They examine politicaltheory's edges as well as its core, the globalizing context of the field, and the challenges presented by social, economic, and technological changes."This is a unique and impressive set of analyses about scholarship in politicaltheory. It is comprehensive, as we would expect. Beyond that, it is remarkably creative in the way that Dryzek, Honig and Phillips have organized categories, and it includes much overdue reference to scholarship on non-Western and postcolonial thought."-Iris Marion Young, Late Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago"This extraordinary series offers 'state of the art' assessments that instruct, engage, and provoke. Both synoptic and directive, the fine essays across these superbly edited volumes reflect the ambitions and diversity of political science. No one who is immersed in the discipline's controversies and possibilities should miss the intellectual stimulation and critical appraisal these works so powerfully provide."-Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia UniversityJohn S. Dryzek is Professor of Social and PoliticalTheory at Australian National University.Bonnie Honig is Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University.Anne Phillips is Professor of Gender Theory at the London School of Economics.Introduction, John S Dryzek, Bonnie Honig, and Anne PhilipsI. CONTEMPORARY CURRENTS1. Justice After Rawls, Richard Arneson2. Power After Foucault, Wendy Brown3. Critical Theory Beyond Habermas, William E Scheuerman4. Feminist Theory and the Canon of Political Thought, Linda Zerilli5. After the Linguistic Turn: Poststructuralist and Liberal Pragmatist PoliticalTheory, Paul Patton6. The Pluralist Imagination, David SchlosbergII. THE LEGACY OF THE PAST7. Theory in History: Problems of Context and Narrative, J G A Pocock8. The PoliticalTheory of Classical Greece, Jill Frank9. Republican Visions, Eric Nelson10. Modernity and its Critics, Jane Bennett11. The History of Political Thought, as Disciplinary Genre, James FarrIII. POLITICALTHEORY IN THE WORLD12. The Challenge of European Union, Richarad Bellamy13. East Asia and the West: The Impact of Confucianism on Anglo-American Political Thought, Daniel A Bell14. In the Beginning all the World was America: American Exceptionalism in New Contexts, Ronald J Schmidt Jr15. Changing Interpretations of Modern and Contemporary Islamic PoliticalTheory, Roxanne L EubenIV. STATE AND PEOPLE16. Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law, Shannon Stimson17. Emergency Powers, John Ferejohn and Pasquale Pasquino18. The People, Margaret Canovan19. Civil Society and State, Simone Chambers and Jeffrey Kopstein20. Democracy and the State, Mark E Warren21. Democracy and Citize. (shrink)
In recent decades, a ‘realist’ alternative to ideal theories of politics has slowly taken shape. Bringing together philosophers, political theorists, and political scientists, this countermovement seeks to reframe inquiry into politics and political norms. Among the hallmarks of this endeavor are a moral psychology that includes the passions and emotions; a robust conception of political possibility and rejection of utopian thinking; the belief that political conflict — of values as well as interests — is both (...) fundamental and ineradicable; a focus on institutions as the arenas within which conflict is mediated and contained; and a conception of politics as a sphere of activity that is distinct, autonomous, and subject to norms that cannot be derived from individual morality. For political realists, a ‘well-ordered society’ is rarely attainable; a modus vivendi without agreement on first principles is often the only practical possibility. Not only will ‘full compliance’ never be achieved, but also it is an assumption that yields misleading accounts of political norms. While realists offer a number of compelling criticisms of ideal theory, there are some lacunae in their stance. It is not yet clear whether realism constitutes a coherent affirmative alternative to idealism. Nor have realists clarified the extent of conflict that is consistent with political order as such. And because both sides accept ‘ought implies can’ as a constraint on the validity of political norms, much of the debate between realists and idealists revolves around deep empirical disagreements that are yet to be clarified. (shrink)
The aim of the article is to show that the contradiction between dialogue and antagonism can be overcome with the help of the idea of dialogue as developed by the Russian thinker Mikhail Bakhtin. The lack of such theory led to the rejection of liberalism or to the introduction of dialogical principle into the body of liberal politics. It was Jürgen Habermas who first understood the necessity of dialogical consensus as the basis of liberal democracy. On the other hand, (...) Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe developed the concept of agonistic democracy, claiming that conflict is inevitable in liberal democracy because consensual relations cannot harmonize contradictory political identities. The second part of the article is the elaboration of Bakhtin’s theory of dialogue and its relevance for politicaltheory. The main point is that dialogue leads to better understanding but not necessarily to consensus. If this is so, then both conceptions of the political are moments in never-ending dialogical relations. The significance of Bakhtin’s idea of dialogue for politicaltheory consists thus in the recognition of the inevitable dialogical nature of society. However, this dialogical concept also has a normative character. Society has to find a balance between two extremes: excessive dialogue, which leads to anarchy, and the lack of dialogue, which leads to totalitarianism. (shrink)
`This volume combines remarkable coverage and distinguished contributors. The inclusion of thematic, conceptual, and historical chapters will make it a valuable resource for scholars as well as students' - Professor George Klosko, Department of Politics, University of Virginia This major new Handbook provides a definitive state-of-the-art review to politicaltheory, past and present. It offers a complete guide to all the main areas and fields of political and philosophical inquiry today by the world's leading theorists. The Handbook (...) is divided into five parts which together serve to illustrate: - the diversity of political theorizing - the substantive theories that provide an over-aching analysis of the nature/or justification of the state and political life - the political theories that have been either formulated or resurgent in recent years - the current state of the central debates within contemporary politicaltheory - the history of western political thought and its interpretations - traditions in political thought outside a western perspective. The Handbook of PoliticalTheory marks a benchmark publication at the cutting edge of its field. It is essential reading for all students and academics of politicaltheory and political philosophy around the world. (shrink)
In this lively and entertaining book, Terence Ball maintains that 'classic' works in politicaltheory continue to speak to us only if they are periodically re-read and reinterpreted from alternative perspectives. That, the author contends, is how these works became classics, and why they are regarded as such. Ball suggests a way of reading that is both 'pluralist' and 'problem-driven'--pluralist in that there is no one right way to read a text, and problem-driven in that the reinterpretation is (...) motivated by problems that emerge while reading these texts. In addition, the subsequent readings and interpretations become more and more suffused with the interpretations of others. This tour de force, always entertaining and eclectic, focuses on the core problems surrounding many of the major thinkers. Was Machiavelli really amoral? Why did language matter so much to Hobbes--and why should it matter to us? Are the roots of the totalitarian state to be found in Rousseau? Were the utilitarians sexist in their view of the franchise? The author's aim is to show how a pluralist and problem-centered approach can shed new light on old and recent works in politicaltheory, and on the controversies that continue over their meaning and significance. Written in a lively and accessible style, the book will provoke debate among students and scholars alike. (shrink)
What Is PoliticalTheory? provides students with a comprehensive overview of the current state of the discipline. Ten substantive chapters address the most pressing topics in politicaltheory today, including: - what resources do the classic texts still provide for political theorists? - what areas will political theorists focus on in the future? - can western politicaltheory alone continue to provide a framework for responding to the challenges of modern political (...) life? The authors assess the intellectual challenges to conventional politicaltheory, such as post-structuralism and the scientific study of politics that have revitalized the field in the last 30 years. They also broaden the perspective to take in non-western ideas and to reconceptualize politicaltheory in the light of specifically global challenges. Students and teachers of politicaltheory and political philosophy will find this book invaluable in understanding the factors that have shaped current politicaltheory and which will guide its future development. (shrink)
In this collection of recent essays (several appearing in English for the first time), John Dunn brings his characteristically acute and penetrative insight to a wide range of political issues. In the first essay, 'The history of politicaltheory', Professor Dunn argues for the importance of a historical perspective in the study of political thought. Other pieces engage with central concepts of political philosophy such as obligation, trust, freedom of conscience and property. A group of (...) studies tackle specific contemporary problems and future dangers, for example racism and the dilemma of humanitarian intervention. The volume as a whole articulates the many dangers, but also the huge importance of, contemporary politics, and provides a representative collection of work by one of the most astute political commentators writing today. (shrink)
Postmodernism has evoked great controversy and it continues to do so today, as it disseminates into general discourse. Some see its principles, such as its fundamental resistance to metanarratives, as frighteningly disruptive, while a growing number are reaping the benefits of its innovative perspective. In PoliticalTheory and Postmodernism, Stephen K. White outlines a path through the postmodern problematic by distinguishing two distinct ways of thinking about the meaning of responsibility, one prevalent in modern and the other in (...) postmodern perspectives. Using this as a guide, White explores the work of Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard, and Habermas, as well as 'difference' feminists, with the goal of showing how postmodernism can inform contemporary ethical-political reflection. In his concluding chapter, White examines how this revisioned postmodern perspective might bear on our thinking about justice. (shrink)
Existentialist Politics and PoliticalTheory The publication of the Critique of Dialectical Reason in 1960 marked the culmination of Sartre's efforts, begun in his more occasional political writings in what became essentially his journal, Les Temps Modernes, and developed more systematically in his important essay, Search for a Method, to forge links between existentialism and a non-orthodox version of Marxism with a view to developing a new philosophy of politics, society, and history and a new approach to (...) the philosophy of the social sciences. The articles provide a wide-ranging, insightful exploration of Sartre's successes and failures in this domain. (shrink)
In recent years the engagement between the environmental 'agenda' and mainstream politicaltheory has become increasingly widespread and profound. Each has affected the other in palpable and important ways, and it makes increasingly less sense for political theorists in either camp to ignore what the other is doing. This book draws together the threads of this interconnecting enquiry in order to assess its status and meaning. Dobson and Eckersley, two renowned scholars in this field, have commissioned an (...) internationally recognised group of politicaltheory scholars to think through the challenge that political ecology presents to politicaltheory. Looking at fourteen familiar political ideologies and concepts such as liberalism, conservatism, justice, and democracy, the contributors question how they are re-shaped, distorted or transformed from an environmental perspective. Lively, accessible and authoritative, this book will appeal to professional scholars and students alike. (shrink)
Pareto and PoliticalTheory offers a much-needed reappraisal of Vilfredo Pareto's often ignored or misunderstood contribution to the theory and philosophy of politics. Joseph V. Femia disputes the depiction of Pareto as a proto-fascist and locates him in a clear tradition of 'sceptical liberalism', which eschews metaphysical abstractions and adopts a 'realist' approach to practical politics.
This article criticizes Laura Valentini's criterion for distinguishing good and bad idealizations in normative politicaltheory. I argue that, on an attentive reading of her criterion, all ideal theories she discusses must be written off as incorporating bad idealizations. This fact makes Valentini's criterion trivially implausible, for it is argued that there are good idealizations that succeed in promoting the action-guiding goal of ideal theory. Upon rejecting an attempt to salvage the idealizations that Valentini marks off as (...) bad, I develop an alternative criterion for demarcating good and bad idealizations. The criterion holds that the standing of a theory's idealized assumptions depends on whether the stipulated idealizations can be feasibly realized in the non-ideal world, and thus on whether the principles that the theory generates can be made relevant for real-world practice. I also claim that the feasibility criterion better reflects the function of idealization in promoting action-guidance. Unlike Valentini's criterion, the feasibility criterion yields the result that Rawls' theories of domestic and international justice both incorporate bad idealizations. (shrink)
What role should the idea of evil have in contemporary moral and social thought? The concept of 'evil' has long been a key idea in moral discourse. Now, the contributors to this volume make a start on the important task of systematically exploring evil in the context of politicaltheory. Intuitively, we know what evil means. Yet once we begin to think about its meaning we quickly uncover competing definitions. In recent years, political theorists have generally set (...) the concept aside as outdated or inappropriate. Yet the idea that some things are wrong beyond toleration still has significant currency. If 'evil' can capture that significance, it merits a closer look. (shrink)
"...the book is excellent and should do really well. It is well written and comprehensive, and it meets the needs of sociologists." John Scott, University of Essex * What have been the major innovations in contemporary social and political thought in the twentieth century? * How have these ideas challenged the canon? * What are the implications of these new ideas for our understanding of the key theoretical concepts? This new and accessible introduction to contemporary social and political (...)theory examines the impact of new ideas such as feminist theory, poststructuralism, hermeneutics and critical theory. The innovations brought by these currents to the intellectual traditions of Europe and America are outlined and assessed. Designed for the newcomer to theory, no previous knowledge is assumed and a student-friendly approach is adopted throughout. Rather than focus on individual thinkers, the authors take a 'conceptual' approach by examining contemporary theories through themes such as 'critique', 'rationality', 'power', 'the subject', 'the body' and 'culture'. Each chapter considers the evolution of a concept and examines the major debates and transformations that have taken place in that area. The needs of the undergraduate are kept in mind at all times and, in addition to an extensive bibliography, the book contains a useful glossary of key terms and concepts. (shrink)
This paper examines the conceptual development of the philosophical justifications for tyrannicide. It posits that the political philosophy of tyrannicide can be categorised into three distinct periods or models, the classical, medieval, and liberal, respectively. It argues that each model contained unique themes and principles that justified tyrannicide in that period; the classical, through the importance attached to public life and the functional role of leadership; the medieval, through natural law doctrine; and the liberal, through the postulates of social (...) contract theory. Subsequent analysis of these different models however, reveals that these historical models are unable to provide a sufficient philosophical basis for a contemporary justification of tyrannicide. In Part II, it will be contended that a reinvigorated conception of self-defence, a theme common to all three models, when coupled with the modern notion of universal human rights, may provide the foundation for a contemporary theory of tyrannicide. (shrink)
William E. Connolly’s writings have pushed the leading edge of politicaltheory, first in North America and then in Europe as well, for more than two decades now. This book draws on his numerous influential books and articles to provide a coherent and comprehensive overview of his significant contribution to the field of politicaltheory. The book focuses in particular on three key areas of his thinking: Democracy: his work in democratic theory - through his (...) critical challenges to the traditions of Rawlsian theories of justice and Habermasian theories of deliberative democracy - has spurred the creation of a fertile and powerful new literature Pluralism - Connolly's work utterly transformed the terrain of the field by helping to resignify pluralism: from a conservative theory of order based on the status quo into a radical theory of democratic contestation based on a progressive political vision The Terms of PoliticalTheory - Connolly has changed the language in which Anglo-American politicaltheory is spoken, and entirely shuffled the pack with which political theorists work. (shrink)
The Radical Attitude and Modern PoliticalTheory focuses on the appearance of an attitude towards modernity that can be best described as radical. It emerges in discourses of politics and the state from the Sixteenth century onwards and can be discerned in many of the central texts of modern politicaltheory, even those that are usually understood to be conservative in character. Accordingly, the attitude is best seen not as a coherent ideology or tradition but as (...) a series of conceptual resources that continue to inform political discourse in the present. (shrink)
Republicanism and PoliticalTheory is the first book to offer a comprehensive and critical survey of republican politicaltheory. Critically assesses its historical credentials, conceptual coherence, and normative proposals Brings together original contributions from leading international scholars in an interactive way Provides the reader with valuable insight into new debates taking place in republican politicaltheory.
Since constitutional arrangements are what make politics work, they are a central concern of politicaltheory._This book, now completely updated, is the first comprehensive exploration of the politicaltheory of constitutions. Jan-Erik Lane begins by examining the origins and history of constitutionalism and answers key questions such as: What is a constitution? Why are there constitutions? From where does constitutionalism originate? How is the constitutional state related to democracy and justice? Constitutions play a major role in (...) domestic and international politics in the early 21st century and an updated version of this classic textbook will introduce students to a number of different areas -- theoretical, empirical, and moral -- which will aid their understanding of this important topic. (shrink)
During the past two decades there has been increasing dissatisfaction with established political categories, on the grounds that they no longer fit many of the facts of contemporary life, or adequately express many contemporary political ideals. PoliticalTheory in Transition explores the principle reasons for this dissatisfaction and outlines some of the most influential responses to it.